29 March, 2018

The Value of Integrity

The Value of Integrity

Leaders, sometimes they just stuff things up and there is no going back. This week, the leadership team of the Australian Men’s Cricket team have learnt a lot about integrity.

In case you missed it, the leadership team endorsed an action of cheating in the third test against South Africa, with Cameron Bancroft attempting to tamper with the ball.

Integrity is defined as a quality of being honest and having strong moral principles.

Steve Smith as the captain of the team, failed on both accounts here.

  • He was not honest. He cheated, broke the rules and then the way he dealt with the situation after being found out showed his moral compass is also way off.
  • At the press conference a reporter asks Smith and Bancroft to explain what happened. Smith’s words to Bancroft – Do you want to explain?

No Steve, that is not what a leader does, he doesn’t throw his subordinate to a pack of hungry wolves. He stands up and says, I made the call and it was wrong.

But then Smith goes on in the press conference to say “We saw this as such an important game. We’ve obviously seen the ball reversing quite a lot throughout this series and the ball just didn’t look like it was going to go. That’s a mistake on our behalf,”

This shows that his moral principles are off here. A win at all costs mentality shows a lack of respect for the rules of the game.

Now there might be another side to the story and maybe he is covering something for a younger Bancroft. We don’t know what discussions went on in the locker room and are basing our judgements on media reports.

But this goes to show that one’s integrity can be damaged in an instant, through a moment of poor judgement.

So, what can we learn from this as a business owner or leader? Well, integrity comes back to being honest with those that we rely on for their support, our income, our continuing success of our business. Whoever that might be.

Leaders must be prepared to make the hard decisions, even if what is in front of us looks like it could work to our advantage and if the risk of getting caught out is so low. Because as we have seen, if you play those stakes, sometimes you will lose in a big way.

Leadership is a lonely place at the best of times, but when you have stuffed up like Smith has, then it not only becomes lonely but also untenable. 

Passionate about leadership too? If you have a specific question about the growth of your leadership or others, let me know. Simply get in touch and ask away.

© 2019 Paul Mead